Installing Horizon View Clients

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Originating Author

Michelle Laverick

Michelle Laverick.jpg

Barry Coombs

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Video Content [TBA]

Introduction to Horizon View Clients

Version: Horizon View 5.1

There are an ever-increasing number of VMware View Clients available covering desktop and mobile platforms these include but are not limited too.

  • Native Client Windows (32/64-bit)
  • Native Client Windows with Local Mode Desktop (32/64-bit)
  • Apple OSX Client
  • Apple iPad Client
  • Android Client
  • Kindle Fire Client
  • Linux Client

Installing the Windows Client

We can install the View client directly from the installation files that you would have downloaded when you downloaded the View executable or you can download the specific View client for the users operating system directly from the VMware View download page, if you browse to the location of the View Connection Server in your favourite web-browser you will receive a link to download the latest View Clients. If the user already has the client installed the client is automatically started and loaded for them, when they visit the web page.

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We should let you know that the Local Mode client will NOT install into a virtual machine. It must be installed into a physical PC. As a work around it is possible to install the Local Mode client into a VM using some other virtualization platform, for example we have used the free version of Virtual Box to run Windows inside a VM and then install the Local Client. It seems a shame that VMware won’t allow this for at least testing purposes although it does have a very limited use case.

1. On the end-user’s physical machine, log in with your administrative account

2. Run the installation applicable to the client version you want to install.

3. As with the VMware View Agent, there are a number of different components, you will note that there is a USB client noted as well if you are installing the client for local mode.

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For testing purposes you can run the View Client inside a Windows XP/Vista/7 VM. However, the offline desktop feature only works with the Windows client on a physical PC. If you try to install the Local Mode feature into a virtual machine the offline desktop feature will be deselected in the custom setup

4. Optionally, during the install you are able to pre-set the Connection Server that the client will use by default

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5. You can additionally set the defaults for the Enhanced Single Sign-on feature. This allows the user’s credentials to the physical client to be passed through the View client, thus making the logon process more seamless.

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Once the client has been loaded and users have connected to their virtual desktop – users see pull-down menu options that are similar to the Microsoft RDP Toolbar.

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Installing the Apple OSX Client

The development of the View client is now a separate entity to View itself. This allows VMware to deliver new clients rapidly without being restricted by the product release cycle for the server end of the product. A good example is with the release of View 5.1 the current version of the View client for Apple OSX is 1.5.

When VMware View 5.1 was released we also saw the release of the View Client 1.5 for Apple OSX, this was the first fully supported PCoIP View Client for the Mac, there had previously been a tech preview available with PCoIP support.

There are a number of limitations to the current version of View client for the Mac such as the distinct lack of multiple monitor support, USB redirection and local mode.

Unfortunately the View client is not currently available in the Apple App Store so you will need to download the dmg from VMware Client web page. http://www.vmware.com/go/viewclients

Once you have downloaded the small dmg file you will be greeted with a familiar Apple application install screen where you simply drag the application icon into the applications folder.

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Once installed you are able to run the View Client and will be invited to add your first View Server, we simply enter the name of the View Connection Server, click continue, authenticate, choose our desktop and will be connected.

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If you regularly connect to multiple View environments the View Clients for Apple OSX and Linux easily allows you to store these connections for future use.

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Installing the Linux Client

VMware has now also released their first Linux PCoIP client. The client is available from the Ubuntu Application Store and can easily be installed from here as well.

Once installed you will see that the Linux PCoIP client is very similar in design as to the new Apple client mentioned above.

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Mobile Device Clients

VMware have recently released a number of mobile device clients for VMware View, the first of the mobile device clients was for the Apple iPad. The client for the iPad has supported the PCoIP protocol from day 1. The View client for the iPad is easily downloaded free of charge from the AppStore on the iPad.

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Once installed all you need to do is to connect to you View Connection Server and choose the desktop you wish to login to from your entitlements, we will cover entitling your users to desktops in a later chapter.

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Whilst using your View Desktop through the iPad client there are a number of tools to assist you with your user experience such as gestures and the on screen track pad for more accurate movement of the mouse.

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At the time of writing, VMware have recently released an Android based client for Android tablets and an Amazon Kindle Fire version as well.

Windows View Client Command-Line Options

The view client does have a number of command-line options you might wish to use to perhaps further automate the process of end-users connecting to their desktops, or to allow, the client to load in a custom way for testing purposes. These are outlined in full in the official VMware View Admin guide in Chapter 19. Currently, page 359 is where this documentation resides. This section is merely a selection of those command-line switches – the ones that we felt you as a reader would be most interested in knowing about. Of course, we would refer you to the documentation from VMware, for a more complete listing.

Our thinking is that you might want to use these command-line switches on shortcuts you present for use on a physical desktop. Our feeling is that you will want to pre-populate the client with as many of your preferred settings for your users – the less role the user has in making their primary configurations, the better in our opinion.

The following is a series of examples of the use of these switches. But before you begin, you should know that the default installation of the Windows View Client does not automatically add the path to the .EXE that is called wswc.exe. Therefore if you are calling the client in scripts, you either will need to set the path as a variable, or else include the full-path to the .EXE for it to work correctly. On a Windows XP install, the path is “C:\Program Files \VMware \VMware View \Client \bin \wswc.exe”. For simplicity we have chosen not to include this full path in our examples to keep them clean and simple.

Full-Screen with PCoIP enforced

This will cause the View session to be open in full-screen with PCoIP used as the default protocol. The –desktopProtocol options dims, and makes the protocol option unavailable for the user to selecting the client UI. In contrast, the –desktop Layout option merely sets a preference, and the user is able to over-ride the option with one of the other four options.

wswc.exe –desktopProtocol PCOIP –desktopLayout fullscreen

Note: Options for desktopProtocol include PCOIP and RDP, and options for –desktopLayout include fullscreen as well as multimonitor, windowlarge and windowsmall. Be careful with your typing here as fat-finger syndrome does not create error messages in all cases. For example if we missed type –desktopProtocol as –desktopProtcol the client loads without an error, and the setting is not applied.

Specifying the Connection Server

It is possible to specify the FQDN of the Connection Server (or Security Server) using the –serverURL parameter. This dims and makes the option unavailable to the user.

wswc.exe –desktopProtocol PCOIP –desktopLayout fullscreen –serverURL view.corp.com

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Managing User Accounts

It is possible to pass (in clear text) credentials to the View Client – and it’s also possible to instruct the client to use the login credentials used on the physical device itself, and pass them through to the View Client. Although it doesn’t require it, this works based on the “serverURL” variable as this is required before authentication.

wswc.exe –serverURL view.corp.com –userName accountsuser01 –password Password1 –domainName CORP

Even if the View Client is only aware of a single-domain model you still need to supply the –domainName parameter, otherwise the client “hangs”, waiting for the end-user to click the “login” button. Of course what’s more appropriate and secure, is to pass the end-user credentials on to the client.

wswc.exe –serverURL view.corp.com –logInAsCurrentUser

Unattended Launching of the Desktop

This works best if the user has only one desktop assigned to their identity. Simply by adding the –unattend option to the wswc.exe string, it will automatically select the desktop available – as it’s the only one. If this is not the case you will need to add the –desktopName parameter to specify which desktop you wish to open by default.

“wswc.exe –desktopProtocol PCOIP –desktopLayout fullscreen –serverURL view.corp.com –logInAsCurrentUser –unattend

When the shortcut is run, or wscs.exe is called from a script, the user does not interact with the client at all – and instead sees a series of dialog box messages showing the status of the connection as “Connecting…”, “Authenticating…”, “The View Server is preparing the desktop” and “Connecting to the desktop…”.

..and Finally…

You may be interested to know that all of these command-line parameters can be stored in a plain text file, and called by using the –f switch. Additionally, there are a number of command-line options surrounding the use of “Local Mode” desktops, where users “cache” their virtual desktop to their local machine for “offline” usage. We have chosen to not cover these here.

Conclusion

There are a number of different clients available that allow us to use our VMware View desktops on most end points we desire. With the development of the end clients now being separate from View itself we are still awaiting a number of Clients such as the Mac client to be fully updated at the time of writing this book. We have also learnt that there are a number of tech previews currently available displaying what VMware are currently working on in this area. In the next chapter we are going to move on to configuring our first desktop pool to test out our configuration of View so far.